Heat goes on as Hayward finds his feet at the Force

Jayden Hayward
Jayden Hayward

Jayden Hayward has had no time for second thoughts.

Since signing with the Western Force last month, the former Taranaki midfielder has been doing his best to settle into a new city, country and team culture.

Despite all that, the hardest adjustment the 25-year-old has had to make was getting used to the Perth heat.

"It's not too bad today, it's probably only mid-20s, so it's not too hot," he said after finishing another pre-season training session yesterday.

Hayward's decision to up sticks and head across the ditch came after he concluded it was time to chase more regular game time in Super Rugby.

With his path seemingly blocked at the Hurricanes, he sought an early release from his New Zealand Rugby Union contract, which was duly granted before he penned a two-year deal at the Force.

After landing on the west coast of Australia, he was given a couple weeks' grace from the rest of squad, whose pre-season had started on October 22, to get himself sorted and get over some aches and pains that were still lingering following a punishing NPC schedule.

Adjusting to life at a new franchise has been reasonably seamless, however, though he soon found out things were done a bit differently across the ditch.

For starters, he is expected to be at the team's training facility at 7.30am, when team members are given breakfast, checked by the team's medical staff before they sit through a briefing on the day's activities before work begins at 9am.

"We usually come back in at 11am. We do some recovery before they supply us lunch, so it's definitely quite different to what it is back home," he said.

The early start to pre-season training was also different to what he had been used to at the Hurricanes.

However, he's not complaining.

"We had a short window to prepare back home, so it felt like we were getting flogged a lot of the time," he said.

"Here, we're not getting flogged all the time because of the longer time."

It also didn't take him long to realise there were no "rock stars" at the Force.

"I've been made to feel so welcome and it only took a couple of days to really feel part of it," he said.

As for regrets, he has none.

"I know I'm out of my comfort zone and it's good," he said.

"One of the main reasons I came over here was to try and make the [playing] 22 week in and week out, so I really want to do that, which I probably could not do at home."

Taranaki Daily News